“If you go up and you block it, you’re going to be on the highlight. You get dunked on, you’re going to be on the highlight. So just go up and protect the rim,” Allen said.
That approach led to a remarkable block on James in the first quarter of the Nets’ 115-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Allen met James above the rim in the second minute of the game, rejecting his attempt and putting himself on a short list of players to block one of James’ dunks.
Allen is only the eighth player to block the four-time MVP, who has 1,850 dunk attempts in his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information. “That’s a helluva list to be on. He’s an amazing player,” Allen, 22, said. “I got the chance to do it, so I’m on the list forever now.”
Said James: “He’s in his 20s, I’m in my 30s, it takes me a little longer to get warmed up. But that’s fine. I mean, you’re a shot blocker. You should, you can, get a block. It happens. It’s probably all over social media, so, that’s cool.”
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said Allen’s block was a catalyst in the Nets’ win.
“I thought that got us going. I thought that got the crowd going,” Atkinson said. “… I thought he made a statement with that block.”
The Nets (14-18) won their sixth straight game — an NBA high — thanks to Allen’s rim protection, 22 points and a career-high 13 assists from ex-Laker D’Angelo Russell, and a host of contributions from others.
“That’s the only way you have a chance to beat this team, if everybody plays well,” Atkinson said. “And I thought they did.”
The Nets last won six straight games in 2015.